PLANS are being drawn up for a new visitor centre at a popular Aberdeenshire nature reserve.
Forvie wildlife site, near Newburgh, draws around 20,000 visitors each year but moves are under way to enhance its appeal.
The project also includes improving paths and creating viewing areas to show off the scenic beauty of the dunes.
Forvie is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including summer breeding birds and wintering wildfowl, which can be found nestling in the dunes - among the largest and most natural in Scotland.
The reserve is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and bosses want to build a new visitor centre along with the other improvements which will create “something a bit special”.
There is a visitor centre at the northern end of the site at Collieston and three trails around the reserve. The focus will now be on the southern end at the start of the dune trail.
Ewan Lawrie, SNH’s national nature reserve co-ordinator, said they hoped to attract even more people to the reserve which, in, turn, would give a boost the local economy.
He explained: “Forvie is internationally important for its coastal habitats and birds and a great place for people to come and visit.
“The reserve is a popular spot with about 20,000 visitors a year. As well as the visitor centre at Collieston, we’ve recently upgraded the carpark beside the Ythan where many people access the site.
“Now, we plan to make the paths better and do something explaining the fascinating wildlife all around. We hope to get something a bit special out of the design work we are contracting. This will bring even more people to the area, providing a boost to the local economy.”
The dune project will also include the building of two view points and creating a small parking area for anglers.
The work will be carried out in two phases and contractors are being invited to produce concept designs before SNH seeks planning approval and secures funding.